From Boston to Roachdale, RRCA gathers momentum
Living in Boston, Joe Buser penned a 24-page report outlining his vision of how he'd like to see Roachdale grow in the coming generations and sent the report to the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.
He then packed up and left his career in the Boston restaurant world and returned home to Roachdale.
"If I was going to talk the talk then I should be able to walk the walk" Buser said.
And so the Roachdale Revitalization Cooperative Alliance (RRCA) was born.
With no intention of the letter causing much of a stir, Buser was happy to hear that Purdue University wanted to help RRCA get its feet off the ground.
"I basically sent it on a fluke and was just thrilled," when Purdue University responded he said.
The school is utilizing its knowledge about revitalizing business and applying it to the goals of the RRCA, which in turn applies business revitalization strategies to how a small town is operated.
This partnership provides insight to the RRCA in developing strategic master plans for addressing economic development, historic preservation and energy sustainability for the community.
The standing-room only "Meet the Candidates" event last week is a prime example of the RRCA working to provide services, events, and products to help Roachdale thrive; and they aim to make this part of the positive reputation of Roachdale.
"So far we've heard all very positive feedback," Buser said regarding Meet the Candidates, "I believe this event was a springboard for a lot more to come for Roachdale."
The RRCA is also providing fresh produce throughout Putnam County through sponsorship of the Windy Meadows Community Farm located just south of Roachdale.
Produce from the farm supplies various food pantries around the county as well as the farmer's market to be held from 11 a.m. -- 3 p.m. each Sunday behind Roachdale Hardware beginning in June.
The farm was started last year and run by volunteers from the RRCA. In its second year, the farm is in negotiations to provide fresh, chemical-free produce to DePauw University through food service program Bon Appetite, prompting the need for a more experienced farm manager in order to double food production for the increased food needs and to expand the farmer's market.
While the organization is just over one year old, having began in January of 2013, it is gathering momentum within the community.
"We're being aggressive and progressive with getting people to visit Roachdale and show that social collaboration is the first step to revitalization," Buser explained.
And if the success of Meet the Candidates is any sign, the approach seems to be working.
For information on events or becoming a member of the RRCA, persons may contact Buser through the RRCA facebook page or visit www.roachdalerca.org.